Apple has recently made it easier to get your iPhone fixed from third party shops. But if you want to repair it—or any of your other gadgets—yourself, you’ll need the proper tools. Fortunately, just about everything you could ever need to fix just about any electronics can be found in this iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit.
My house is a DIY house. If something is broken, we’re more likely to find a way to fix it ourselves. This means having a small armory of tools for every task that needs doing. Whether it’s hanging artwork, patching holes, or building furniture, we’ve got the tool we need for the job. For a wide variety of jobs, that only takes a couple of basic toolkits. When it comes to electronics, though, you run into a lot of specialty tools that, bought separately, could cost a small fortune. This iFixit toolkit, on the other hand, comes with virtually everything you could ever need to repair most gadgets, for a scant $60.
The star of the show is the 60 bit screwdriver kit. Unlike most interchangeable bits, this set includes a variety of the most unique bits that are required to repair your devices. For example, Apple phones and tablets use custom pentalobe screws that the company created in-house specifically to discourage unauthorized repairs. While you can buy these on their own, an individual set of pentalobe screwdrivers can cost $8 by themselves. When combined with specialty bits for a host of other gadgets and manufacturers, it can really add up. Additionally, just under the screwdriver kit, there’s a magnetic plate you can use to hold onto all your screws while you disassemble your device without losing them, a nice touch.
If the screwdriver kit was all you needed, it might still be worth it (and it’s worth pointing out, you can buy just the screwdriver set by itself for half the price), but the rest of the Pro Toolkit comes with even more. If you need to repair your phone, chances are you might need to pull the glass apart from the casing. The included suction cup lets you tug the front of your phone up enough to get a wedge in there. The kit comes with the wedges, too. Several triangular plastic picks let you carefully pry apart pieces that are glued together and have a tendency to break when not removed properly.
Because electronics tend to involve a lot of tiny pieces, the kit also comes with a selection of tweezers that let you get into the little areas of devices like phones and tablets. Ribbon cables and jumpers tend to be too small for most fingers, but with the right tweezers, you can pull them apart or put them together with ease.
The kit also comes with one of the most crucial things you need when handling disassembled electronics: an anti-static bracelet. This goes around your wrist and then connects to a large piece of grounded metal. It prevents your body from building up a static charge that could then be accidentally released into the exposed circuit boards of your favorite device. For the layman, this means you won’t accidentally shock your phone or computer into breaking while you’re trying to fix it.
Finally, the whole kit comes in a soft, foldable canvas case which, in my experience, is vastly preferable to hard plastic. Aside from being more comfortable to hold and use, it’s more durable as it’s less likely to crack or break if it slams into something hard. Not that you’re likely to be throwing your electronics toolkit around as much as a bigger home repair kit, but as someone who’s cut his hand on the cracked plastic of a toolkit more than once, this covering is still preferable.
All in all, it’s hard to find a good, thoughtful kit for the DIY electronics nerd with everything in a single package. More often than not, you’ll find a screwdriver kit and have to buy other tools like the anti-static wristband or suction cups separately. But if you find yourself repairing anything from your computer to your tablet, you’ll find just about everything you need in this kit. Ever since I got mine nearly two years ago, it’s been the only kit I’ve had to reach for on repair jobs since.